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Trip Report Austria - Salzburg, Ice Cave and Salt Mine

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Overlooking the city of Salzburg is a fortress called Hohensalzburg. Its building began in the 1000s, although back then it very much looked like a farmhouse with some fencing. As the years passed, and its function change, it began taking on a fortress appearance. Don't miss the audio guide included with the tickets, we found it very informative. We found some stairs that climbed up to the fortress. It was a nice way to see this part of Salzburg, as we passed by countless gelato shops, peoples' open windows and balconies, on a cobblestone path up to the fortress.

On the weekend that we rented a car, we visited Hallein Salt Mine in Austria. The tour started with visitors putting on coveralls and boarding a mine train to travel to the inner depths of the mine, just as miners once did. Along the way, there were two miners’ slides (27m and 42m long), one boat ride over an underground brine lake, two underground boundary crossings, and a Celtic miner from the BC era who died accidentally in the mines and was preserved by the salt. Though some parts of it was more commercialized than it needed to be, as a whole, I found the salt mine visit both educational and exhilarating (thanks to the miners’ slides). The kids loved the rides on the miners’ train and slides. The Salt Mine ticket included a Celtic Village (which closes early) and free parking. Unfortunately, we did not have any pictures. Our camera, also our GPS, was running low on battery and we had to choose between taking pictures or finding our way home across the border to Munich.

Eisriesenwelt Werfen is said to be the largest ice cave in the world. It is a constantly evolving ice sculpture with a beautiful bluish hue. The tour is about 1km in length to cover the icy portion of the 40km cave system in the Austrian Alps. There are 700 steps up into the cave, 700 steps down and out of the cave. Our tour guide was very good at stopping in strategic places to allow people to catch their breath on the way in. The cave is dark inside, but lamps were provided to help light up the way. We dressed in layers to keep warm and did not feel chilly until we started making our way down. Our youngest who was 4 years old at the time was able to make the tour with some help from dad. It is a shame that pictures were not allowed inside the cave. To get to the entrance of the Ice Cave, we took a couple of cable cars, which afforded amazing views of the surrounding Alpine mountains. We also got to walk a little along the side of the mountain to enjoy the views at a slower pace.

We visited Austria in the summer of 2015. We had a wonderful time enjoying the beauty that part of Europe offers. Interestingly the mountains reminded us of a place we once called home (Canada).

For pictures, feel free to visit my blog at http://budgettravelwithkids.com/blog/austria/

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